We’ve all had those days where things never seem to go right, where one minor inconvenience leads to another problem which leads to another problem, you know what I mean. I think of myself as a pretty fair handy man, someone who isn’t scared to tackle almost any problem around the house. After all, I built this house and a couple of garages myself, what’s doing a little repair, right?
It all started a few nights ago, I was getting ready for bed, had my night cap on and just ready to meet my old friend, Blissful Sleep. Then I heard a soft voice, calling from the master bathroom. As some of you know, Mrs F is quite small but not timid. It sounded like Gunnery Sergeant Ermey, “GET IN HERE AND CLEAN THE TOP OF THE MIRROR!”
What? I jumped out of bed, adrenaline rushing, knowing that this was an emergency. I went into the bathroom, Mrs F handed me a wipe, I scoffed and pointed out that a real man would use Windex and a paper towel. Anyway, I wasn’t going to be Mr Tough Guy when it was my bedtime so I started to clean the top of the mirror.
WHOA! Houston, we’ve got a problem. The mirror has decided to move, several inches, down. What the hell? I looked the situation over, bewildered. How and why did it do that? It is held in place with 4 of those little plastic clips on the sides and top and the bottom of the mirror rests on ceramic tile but yet it had slipped out of place. I showed the missus the problem and she remembered that a day earlier she had heard a CLUNK while she was in bed. Now, as I looked more carefully I saw the mirror had been stopped by two outlet plates (covers), one on each side, which had kept it from falling all the way off.
I carefully slid the mirror (30” X 48”) up and put it back on the tile, seemed to be OK, tightened up the plastic retainer clips. Then I noticed that the bottom of the mirror bowed out a little in the middle and didn’t really sit on the tile as it originally had and I could see that it could slip down. Ah, if I put one of those little clips in the middle on the bottom that will solve the problem. Maybe I even have some in my collectibles downstairs, but alas, none to be found.
I explained to Mrs F that I’ll go to the hardware store in Podundville early the next morning and get the clips and solve the problem of the collapsing mirror. I did go and got the part I needed, now all I had to do was drill a hole in the ceramic tile, install the clip and my day would be complete and I’d be the local hero of the house. I found my ceramic drill bits, even had the correct size.
Ceramic bits are different than wood or metal drill bits but operate the same way, put one in the ol’ Black and Decker and drill to your heart’s content, except…
the smooth hard finish of ceramic makes it tough to start the drilling part.
One needs a tiny little dimple in the tile to get the bit started. Luckily I knew that and got a center punch and a hammer. Now I’m working very close to the mirror so I have to be careful.
Wham! Oh-oh. I screwed up, a tiny crack in the bottom of the mirror. OK, I’ll take the mirror off and use some Gorilla tape and that will stop the crack. I need Mrs F though to hold the mirror up while I loosen up the clips. Done and I start to take the mirror off the wall when CRASH!, about 1/4th of the mirror splits off and somehow or another rolls into the bathtub and explodes. I’m left holding 75% of the mirror. I carefully carry it downstairs and outside and set it on the patio.
The good news was that the part that fell in the bathtub was contained there with no debris on the floor (we’re in our stocking feet) so the clean up was easy. Now I look at the empty space where a mirror used to be and see something curious. When I had originally put the mirror in, 28 years earlier, I had used some sort of mastic to glue the bottom of the mirror in place and that had dried out and allowed for the mirror to slide down.
I finished my hole drilling and got the little clip in but I’m short a mirror. It has to be the same size to cover the opening in the tile. I go online to Amazon, Holy Shit! That size mirror is about $250 for the cheapie, $325 for the next one. Damn, mirrors have really had an inflation, I couldn’t remember anything like that 28 years earlier.
Finally went online to Menard’s, a Midwest sort of Home Depot, and found one same size for $40 with a 10% rebate. That was the one I had originally installed. I ordered it and am going to wear the required mandatory mask and pick it up today. It’s a 30 mile one way trip, but we can shop at Walmart as well.
What had started out as routine repair escalated into one thing after another. It was a Roseanna Roseanna Dana moment. This isn’t the first time. I am lucky that Mrs F just rolls her eyes and quickly forgets ’cause she knows there will be a next time.
Now I have to carefully install it after I get it and I can only hope that this one will last another 28 years. I’m way too busy to waste time doing these Handy Man things. Fishing season is here, gardens don’t grow by themselves. Then the mirror will look like this one.
Oh, yeah, the cutting attachment belt broke on my lawn mower the same day, it’s on order but I can’t install that myself. Before you buy a John Deere take a look at the other lawn equipment, too.
I picked up the new mirror today, tomorrow I’ll carefully try to install it without breaking it. Found some glue at Walmart that I’ll use plus the plastic retainers.